Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May #0027

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the flag flapping in the wind catches her eye. Over the top of the crest is a phrase, perhaps the motto for the city.

May Mercy Ever Find A Home Here

“M-Mercy,” the woman says quickly, aware of the men’s scrutiny.

Mercy, repeats the entity in her head. A fine a name as any. It will do you credit.

“Mercy, aye?” Says the old guard. “Mercy what?”

“May,” says the woman promptly. “Mercy May.”

It says something about the Pale City that neither man seem to take note of the uncanny similarity their guest’s name has to the words sewn


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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May #0026

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name!”

“Alright, curse you, alright,” the old guard at last relents. “If it’ll keep you from pissing yourself, I’ll find out what she’s called, aye?” He turns back to the woman, who has since struggled to her feet just in case she needs to make a run for it — though where she would go she hasn’t the faintest idea. “What’s your name girl? Nils here needs to hear it, else he won’t be able to sleep tonight. Come on, then, what’s your name?”

She wishes she had one to give. “I — I’m,” she stammers, unsure of what to say. Overhead,


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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May #0025

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description, though she can hardly deny it’s accuracy. She wants to deny that she is there to cause any trouble (leading a pack of darkwolves to their doorstep notwithstanding), but she keeps her silence. The old guard is doing a fine enough job arguing her case, and she doesn’t need to draw any more unwanted attention to herself.

“This girl,” Nils replies, sneering the word disdainfully, “just outran a whole pack of demons. Hardly the waif you’re so desperately making her out to be. We don’t know where she came from, why she’s here… Dammit, we don’t even know her


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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May #0024

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man, protests. “She can’t just come in! Captain’s orders, remember! All visitors must be questioned before gaining entry to the city. Or have you forgotten the —“

The old guard spits on the ground. “I haven’t forgotten, lad. We’ve been questioning.”

“You asked for her name,” Nils replies, frowning. “Which she didn’t give. That’s hardly the interrogation Captain Denrik wants.”

“Oh pooh,” says the elder. “This girl’s wearin’ naught but her slip and has the look like a stiff breeze could carry her off. She’s not about to cause any trouble like Denrik expects, aye?”

The woman flushes at such a


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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May #0023

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unneeded weight upon the woman’s already troubled mind.

The City of Angels, it was once called, the voice continues, heedless of it’s host’s turmoil. The site of the gods’ earthly homes. But no longer. No longer. You are come at a most desperate time, stranger.

“Is it… safe?” The woman asks presently, lifting her voice to drown out the one inside her head.

“Oh, aye,” the older guard answers easily. “Never you fret, girl, them darkwolves won’t make it past us, no matter how hard they try. Now, why don’t you totter on inside and —“

“Hold on!” Nils, the younger


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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May; 0022

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men look at each other again. She’s starting to feel anxious every time they do that.

“You get turned around when you were running from them beasties?” The older guard asks mildly. “Makes sense. No one comes to the Pale City anymore.”

The Pale City, the voice in her head whispers, so named because it is a pale imitation of what it once was.

The woman flinches at the intrusion, then must bite her tongue to stop herself responding to the disembodied entity. She had almost forgotten about it amidst the chase. Now, the reminder of its presence is an


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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May; 0021

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rescued once again.

“Which makes you lucky twice,” the old guard says, a gruff smile twitching underneath his drooping mustache. “What’s your name, girl?”

Another question without an answer. The woman does her best to avoid it. She pushes herself cautiously into an upright position, a soft groan escaping her lips as she does so. She expected that her entire body would feel terribly sore after such an arduous chase, but to her surprise there is nothing more than a minor ache. It is almost… pleasant.

“Where am I?” She asks again, hoping her question would override their own.

The


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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May; 0020

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no small measure of caution quavering in her voice. “What were those things chasing me?”

Twin looks of surprise erupt across the men’s faces, replaced quickly by skepticism on that of the younger’s.

“You mean to say you’ve never seen a darkwolf before?” He scoffs.

“You’re lucky, then,” says the elder. “We see ‘em more’n we’d like, don’t we Nils?”

“We do,” Nils confirms, folding his arms over his chest. “But we’ve never seen anyone outrun one… much less a whole pack.”

The woman swallows against a knot forming in her throat. But before she can say anything, she is


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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May #0019

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smaller — and, at this distance, indecipherable — shapes. Nothing about it triggers any kind of recall in the woman’s mind. Whatever this place is, it is just as much a mystery to her as… everything else.

Now free from the terror of the chase, the unnerving matter of the woman’s missing memory returns to top of mind. Though every inch of her body feels ready to sink into the soil itself, the woman pushes herself upright, her eyes darting this way and that — though what it is she seeks, not even she knows.

“Where am I?” She asks the guardsmen with


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Drabble Rock

The Ballad of Mercy May; 0018

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The other, standing back with an expression of distaste, is the second speaker, hardly more than a boy. He has a youthful, carefree (or careless) mien about him that is marred by an ugly blackened scar that runs the length of his otherwise handsome face.

Almost directly overhead, the woman notes next, stands a rusted, moss-overgrown gate — the entrance to the walled city she’d espied during her flight from the creatures. Demons the men had called them. Tied to it, rustling slightly in the wind, is a triangular shaped purple flag. Its emblem is a silver spire surrounded by nine


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